‘Ethereum Supreme Court’ Brought by Matter Labs Co-founder

Alex Gluchowski, the CEO and co-founder of Matter Labs, proposed an Ethereum Supreme Court. It resembles “a hierarchical court system like the real world” for on-chain disputes. He believes it would scare off bad actors while strengthening the state of the Ethereum network.

Ethereum Supreme Court Explained by Gluchowski

On September 2, 2023, Alex Gluchowski shared a post on X ( formerly Twitter) about the idea for an “Ethereum Supreme Court.” As per his post, his idea would work similarly to the United States Supreme Court while “serving as a final stop for parties to dispute smart contract issues rather than needing to take matters to a traditional lawyer or court.”

Gluchowski added in his post that “The most important function of such a system will be to protect protocols against political inference from the outside. It will serve as a great deterrence mechanism, and will elevate the role of Ethereum as a powerful network state.”

Although the concept proposed by Gluchowski, disputes, and emergency upgrades would be handled by a hierarchical system of on-chain courts. Whereas the final end would be an Ethereum Layer-1 soft fork as the “Court of Final Appeal.”

Highlights of the Ethereum Court System

Matter Labs co-founder also said that in his proposed system, “every protocol would have its own governance with normal and emergency upgrade mechanisms. This would also designate a special contract which can trigger an appeal.

As the post states, “If there is an emergency upgrade to a protocol, then there would be an appeal period, during which any user can submit a challenge to the higher court.” Notably, they will have to put up a predefined bail deposit.

Gluchowski further noted that each court defines the higher court to appeal to, with the Ethereum Supreme Court serving as the final destination for challengers.

With an example, Gluchowski elaborated the system. As he said, “The court hierarchy would see protocols like Aave and Uniswap would contest matters in a court such as CourtUnchained or JusticeDAO.” When those courts reach a decision, a party can appeal to the Ethereum Supreme Court.

It must be noted that there is a need for strong social consensus for the on-chain court system to work, as Gluchowski acknowledged. As he mentioned “it would be expensive so that only “truly extraordinary” cases will be brought before it.”

There were already several existing solutions to such disputes that still argued that they were not effective as Gluchowski added. With an example, he said that “enabling time-locked features on smart contracts is not suitable in emergency situations and introducing a security council can mitigate the problem, but won’t solve it, while carrying its own risks.”

Nancy J. Allen
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